Google Analytics Time On Site and Bounce Rate

Performing some daily reading over various blogs, I saw Brian Cray’s post, Time On Site & Bounce Rate: Get the real numbers in Google Analytics, and had to share it with the Kickstart Commerce Community. 

I know many of you utilize the free web analytics tool, Google Web Analytics, provided by Google to monitor web traffic, conversion rates, bounce rates, traffic sources, and more.

Brian’s post is God-sent as it will help you to find the *REAL* Time On Site and Bounce Rate of your website.

For those not using Google Web Analytics or some other web analytics to measure the effectiveness of your website, then you are throwing away opportunity and opportunity to understand what your website does very well and what does not do very well.

Have you ever thought or wondered the following about your website:

  • How many new visitors and return visitors does your website receive?
  • How long do visitors view your website and which pages are the most popular on your website?
  • Which pages on your website are not doing so well in converting customer sales?
  • Where throughout the world users visiting your website are located?
  • How your competitors are able to identify keywords or keyword phrases with high sales conversions?
  • Which traffic sources send your website the most traffic?
  • How your website is performing in regards to organic search?
  • How many visitors download files or content from your website?
  • How much traffic and sales do your online advertising refer to your website?

Those are just some of the questions web analytics software solutions can help you answer about your business and its website.

For a more in-depth overview do make and take the time to understand all the various features Google Web Analytics offers by reviewing the Google Web Analytics Guide.

Both Time on-site and Bounce rate help you understand and answer the following questions as they relate to your website:

  • Do visitors enter your website by landing on a page only to visit for 30 seconds or 2 minutes only to close the browser or venture off to another website to suit their needs?
  • Do visitors enter a page and spend 10 minutes viewing other pages and resources offered on your website?

As great as Google Web Analytics is at presenting your business with various data and statistical information about its website, a major flaw of Google Web Analytics is the inability to accurately report real-time on-site and bounce rates for visitors visiting your website.

Would you not want to know with great clarity the answers to your questions above in an effort to generate greater customer growth and revenue?

Simply put, Google Web Analytics cannot accurately measure time on site and bounce rate effectively for a website due to not truly knowing how long in time users interact with a page before leaving the website, either closing the browsing or viewing another website.

This inaccurate depiction of time on site and bounce rate severely inflates a website’s bounce rate as well as severely decreases a website’s average time on site.

Why does accurately reporting real-time on-site and bounce rates for visitors visiting your website matter, you ask?

Typically, when approaching search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO), you will want to determine baselines to measure how well your selected SEM and SEO strategies are performing outside of the fact of how many customers and sales are made.

And two of the most telling stories of a website are how long visitors remain on the website and the website’s bounce rate.

The typical time spent on a website varies based on industry and vertical. In some industries, a typical time spent on a website may be seconds or minutes, and in some cases hours.

For instance, a website offering videos and webinars tends to have longer page times depending on the subject matter being viewed and discussed whereas general content may only have seconds or minutes at most before the visitor moves on.

In addition, the bounce rate determines the number of users that visit a page and how long they remain on the page before exiting the website.

One can assume that the lower the quality of content on a website, then the higher the bounce rate, and vice versa. A typical bounce rate is just below 40%.

The beauty of Google Web Analytics is that it displays an overall bounce rate for your website but also a per-page bounce rate so that you can address various issues on the respective page with a high bounce rate (i.e. performing A/B Testing to lower bounce rate).

How do you fix Google Web Analytics not properly reporting both times on-site and bounce rate for your website?

Thanks to Brian Cray, he’s provided a nifty piece of javascript code in his latest blog post, Time On Site & Bounce Rate: Get the real numbers in Google Analytics, to correct the time on site and bounce rate so that both are accurately portrayed.

If you use Google Web Analytics, do visit the post and implement Brian’s solution as I’m sure you will see a stark difference in your website’s average time on site and bounce rate.

In addition, we encourage you to view our latest post entitled, Using Google Webmaster Tools to Verify and Submit a Website Sitemap, as it gives you greater insight into using another useful web tool offered by Google: Google Webmaster Tools.


Written by Alvin Brown
He's an experienced and passionate serial entrepreneur, founder and publisher of Kickstart Commerce. Alvin possesses a great love for startups dominating their market using profitable digital strategies for greater commerce.